They All Wear Masks

"Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth." -Oscar Wilde


3. ~ Three ~

     Spiderman- Peter- found Harry Osborn drunk and unconscious. He lowered himself gently to the floor of Harry’s apartment, landing on his feet as softly as a cat, unhindered by his disguise. Harry didn’t stir, passed out on his sofa, curled in a foetal position. Peter padded lightly over to him, avoiding broken shards of glass that littered the floor like deadly drops of rain. Sliding off his glove, he leaned down, stroking a thumb over Harry’s cheekbone. His fringe had fallen into his eyes, and Peter pushed it out of the way gently. Harry’s eyelids were almost translucent, so pale was he. Peter could see his eyes flickering, blue almost visible. 

    He drew back and let his heel clang on the table leg before he did anything he’d regret.

    Harry woke slowly, blinking the hangover from his eyes. He looked good in black, Peter decided. Pale, but not sickly. 

    Harry blinked up at him, and it took everything Peter had not to kiss him right then.

    Instead, he drew away and perched on the edge of a chair. 

    Harry sat up, leaned forwards, those blue eyes brightening. He thought he was saved. “Spiderman… he did it. Peter did it. I-“ 

    “I can’t give you my blood.” God, that hurt. That hurt like a thousand knives in his heart.

    Harry’s head jerked back, almost imperceptibly, and there he was; Norman. Norman glowered through Harry’s eyes and stood in Harry’s body. “Excuse me?”

    Peter stood too. “It’ll kill you. It’s too dangerous-“

    Harry upended the table, sending its contents scattering around the room, glass shattering. “I’m ALREADY DYING! I can’t die MORE!”

    Peter backed away, but Harry advanced on him and clutched at his arms. “Please, just give me your blood. I can risk it- I can do tests, I have scientists-“ 

    Peter stood like a statue, gazing into Harry’s imploring eyes. Norman had gone- where, Peter did not care to find out. “It won’t work. It’s too dangerous, I’m sorry-“

    Harry pulled his mask off.

    He moved so quickly that Peter didn’t even have time to curse himself- of course Harry would do that. His desperation coupled with his insatiable curiosity would prevent him from using any reason.

    Peter jerked back, a reaction to shock, but Harry saw his face. He looked into his eyes, and all Peter could see there was the pain of betrayal. 


    “Harry, oh God, I’m sorry, I’m sorry-“

    Harry slapped him, hard. It stung Peter’s face, stung his heart. He made no move to protect himself. He simply stood and prepared to take the onslaught he knew he deserved.

    “Pete…you’re Spiderman… you’re Spiderman! So- so you can save me!” 


    “Peter!” Harry’s eyes lit up. “You can save my life!” 

    “No, Harry, I can’t-“

    Harry gripped Peter’s arms tighter. “No, you don’t understand. You and me together- me with the money, you with the brains- we can make a medicine, I’m positive. We just need to work together.” 

    Peter licked his dry lips. “You… you’re not angry?”

    Harry gave a shrug. “Nah. I’ve slapped you now. Besides-“ Harry’s voice caught and he drew back, shaking his head and turning away. “Never mind. Nothing. Um-“


    Harry turned to look at Peter again, and Peter doubted if anyone’s eyes had ever been so beautiful. “Besides…” Harry’s lips quirked upwards. “That hurt my hand. Now go away and get me some blood, Spiderboy.”

    Peter rolled his eyes and jumped to the window ledge. “Spiderman, I’ll have you know.”

    “I’ll be the judge of that. Now go.” 

    Peter went. He whooped loudly at the pedestrians passing below him, startling them out of their dazes. 

    All he needed to do now was cure Harry Osborn. Simple.



    Harry didn’t even have time to scream when he felt the first judders of pain run through his body. He dropped his glass, and it fell to the floor, shattering into a thousand pieces. Harry fell after it, landing heavily on the palms of his hands. He was in so much pain he didn’t even feel the shards tear into his skin. 

    He writhed, screaming, the world a blur of red before his burning- no, melting eyes. A single name reverberated in his head as he crawled towards the elevator. It because his mantra as he stabbed at the OsCorp-blue buttons, moaning. Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter…

    He knew only one thing that would keep him alive long enough to find him, get the blood that both he, Peter, and all his trusted and best OsCorp scientists had been working on. He hadn’t even told Peter his backup plan, afraid of the consequences- it would change him, sending probes into his brain…

    Harry wondered how he could even think through the pain. It tore at him like a machete, ripping through his skin, grabbing at his innards, and oh God he was going to die, wasn’t he? He was going to die without ever really living.     

    The elevator pinged loud over the sound of his screaming. Harry crawled out, landing on the cold cement floor of the OsCorp basement with a thud. There was no light, only a suffocating blackness- or was it Harry’s own body suffocating him? His throat must have burnt long ago- that was the only thing that could make it hurt so much. 

    Harry crawled, feeling blindly through the dark, stretching his hands out like a madman, sobbing dry racking sobs, tears leaking from his screwed up eyes. His flailing hands landed on something cool and hard.

    An armoured suit. 

    How he got himself into it, Harry would never know, but soon the basement lit up with an eerie light, and the humming of awakening machines filled his ears. He could feel the suit closing around him, and there was a brief moment of relief from the pain, as though someone had put ice on a bruise. 

    Then wires dug into his brain, and Harry Osborn was shut off.

    Norman peered through his son’s eyes and listened to the fading mantra that had been going through his head. Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter…

    Norman let the suit fly, only one objective in mind:

    Kill Peter Parker.


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